We’ve all been involved in at least one. An argument where we just have to make the other person realise we are right, what ever it takes.
Because we are right. And they need to know. So that…….so……
When we begin an argument with someone we love, over something that we believe we are right about, and they are clearly wrong, what is it we need to achieve? Why, when it causes so much discord, would we bullishly chase down the path of redemption with so little to gain at the end?
Because being right validates us. It deflects the attention from our insecurities and protects us from being vulnerable and it can feel like gaining some control over a situation that we feel threatened by.
So now that you’ve argued your point, stated all the facts as you see them, presented evidence A through to Z, your loved one, hoping desperately for peace and calm to be restored, yells “OK! OK! You’re right! I did do ………………. [enter latest wrongdoing]”
Do you run a victory dance around the lounge?
Do you chant “Loser Loser Loser” with your thumb and finger shaped in an L on your forehead?
Do you race over to the chalkboard on the fridge and scratch another stick on your tally sheet?
What? You don’t have a chalkboard to record all your wins?
So if you’re not keeping score, what’s the point?
There are no winners in an argument about whose right. Even if you are the innocent party, trust me, there’s little thrill to be had when your loved one, exhausted, throws in their defence and declares you the winner. It’s an incredibly unsatisfying moment, and yet we still seem to fight for it.
When you fight to be right, you miss the opportunity to increase intimacy in your relationship. By creating a win-lose situation, you turn the person you love into an adversary and hell bent on being victorious you are unable to hear what your partner has to say. Instead you are selfishly communicating that your need to be right is more important than offering understanding and respect to your partner and the situation.
Healthy communication means being able to listen and respect another person’s viewpoint without belittling and controlling the outcome of the conversation. It involves being able to maturely negotiate and resolve conflict, rather than competing for the power of being right and pitching yourself against the person you most want on your side. Acknowledging and honoring the uniqueness of the two people sharing a life together, rather than keeping score when ever disagreements arise, is the stuff authentic love is made of.
As Epictetus said “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak”. When you are busy talking your way into being right, what do you miss hearing that could bring you closer to the person you love? Don’t miss the chance to strengthen your bond through open and respectful communication, just for the sake of the dubious honor of being right.
So, if you want true happiness in your relationship, forget about being right, and focus on loving, caring, communication and honest connection. This is a sure fire way to win where it really counts. Next time a disagreement comes up, try listening, hearing, compromising and agreeing where appropriate and see how different the outcome is. Notice how different you feel for not having to prove someone else wrong.